West Highland Way Guided Trail Holiday

Female hiker admiring the landscape on a path leading to the top of Ben Lomond in a sunny  day. Loch Lomond in the backgroun…
Duration: 9 nights
Type: Trails
Walking Grade: 4
from £1,339pp £1,314pp

Firmly established as one of our guests’ favourite trail holidays, this superb walk winds its way from Milngavie to the foot of Ben Nevis, at Fort William. Surrounded by breathtaking mountains, discover the finest Highland scenery from the shores of Loch Lomond to the wilderness of Rannoch Moor. Spectacular scenery all the way.

Holiday Highlights

  • Spectacular Highland scenery
  • Trails steeped in Scottish history
  • Stunning views of Ben Nevis and Loch Lomond

What’s included

  • 9 nights' Full Board en-suite accommodation
  • The services of an experienced HF Holidays’ Trails leader
  • All transport and luggage transfers on walking days

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

Check-in at the Grand Central from 15.00 and your leader will meet you prior to dinner for a welcome meeting.

Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow - West Highland Way

The historic Grand Central Hotel is adjacent to Glasgow Central Station. Dating back to 1883, the hotel has original features including the grand staircase and the magnificent Champagne Central Bar with its domed ceiling and marble floor. The comfortable rooms are equipped with TV,  WiFi, tea and coffee making facilities and a hairdryer. 


Leaving Milngavie, we are into pleasant parkland, woods and fields. The first section to Drymen is an easy walk most of the way. Undulating at first, the path flattens out following the trackbed of the now disused railway line between Glasgow and Aberfoyle. We pass the Dumgoyach Standing Stones, thought to date from the Bronze Age, and also the Glengoyne Distillery, which is well worth a visit if time allows. We pass stone cottages at the hamlet of Gartness, before some minor road walking through rolling farmland leads us  into the village of Drymen.

13 miles (21km) with 500 feet (150m) of ascent.

Winnock Hotel, Drymen - West Highland Way

The Winnock Hotel dates back to the late 1700's and throughout history has always offered lodging to weary travellers passing through by Loch Lomond and the Trossachs areas. Formally a coaching inn, it has been lovingly restored to its modern day form. All rooms include hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities, TV, WiFi and telephone.


We follow forest tracks, paths and minor roads through gently rolling countryside, gradually gaining views of the hills around us, including Ben Lomond to the north. The section over Conic Hill (1,184 feet), involves some 700 feet of ascent, but we are rewarded with fine views of Loch Lomond from the summit. Once past Balmaha we join woodland paths winding pleasantly by the shores of Loch Lomond with a good chance of seeing Ospreys. We can have welcome refreshments at the end at the Rowardennan Hotel on the edge of the loch.

15 miles (24km) with 1,500 feet (450m) of ascent.

Winnock Hotel, Drymen - West Highland Way

The Winnock Hotel dates back to the late 1700's and throughout history has always offered lodging to weary travellers passing through by Loch Lomond and the Trossachs areas. Formally a coaching inn, it has been lovingly restored to its modern day form. All rooms include hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities, TV, WiFi and telephone.


Although low level, this is a tough day. It is however a beautiful walk along this side of Loch Lomond, below Ben Lomond, and quiet once we have left Rowardennan. We have the option of the shore path to Inversnaid, rebuilt in 2014, or the higher forest path. We go through much natural oak woodland, including the RSPB Inversnaid reserve which is full of bird and animal wildlife. This is an area much associated with the outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor - the path passes close by ‘Rob Roy's Prison’ and ‘Rob Roy's Cave’. At the north east shore we hail a ferry to take us across the loch, to Ardlui.

11½ miles (18.5km) with 1,500 feet (450m) of ascent.

Ardlui Hotel, Ardlui - West Highland Way

The Ardlui Hotel commands a magnificent location on the banks of Loch Lomond. Having walked along the eastern shore of the Loch we arrive at the hotel by boat, where a warm welcome is assured from the Squires family. The hotel has 10 en-suite bedrooms. All our rooms have a tea and coffee making facilities,TV, hairdryer and radio. WiFi is available but limited.


We re-cross the Loch on the ferry to rejoin the path and begin to really travel into the hills, but the walking is much easier. There are excellent view south over Loch Lomond from the side of the small hill of Cnap Mor. A gentle ascent up Glen Falloch takes us past the Falls of Falloch. Near the top of the pass, we join, for the first time, the old 18th century military road built by General Wade's successors. From now on the walking gets easier, as much of the Way follows this military road almost through to Fort William.

We stay high above Crianlarich, in forestry that is being sympathetically managed by the Forestry Commission, featuring some interesting and varied tree species, and maintaining an openness allowing good views out over Strath Fillan and the surrounding hills. We drop down to Tyndrum (pronounced "Tyne-drum") a small village, now a busy little tourist centre. The village originally became prosperous from lead mining and the spoil heaps are still clearly visible on the southern hill slopes. More recently it experienced renewed fame as a gold mining centre. Despite its small size it also has the distinction of possessing two railway stations, as the lines from Glasgow to Fort William and Oban diverge at this point.

14½ miles (23km) with 2,000 feet (600m) of ascent.

Ardlui Hotel, Ardlui - West Highland Way

The Ardlui Hotel commands a magnificent location on the banks of Loch Lomond. Having walked along the eastern shore of the Loch we arrive at the hotel by boat, where a warm welcome is assured from the Squires family. The hotel has 10 en-suite bedrooms. All our rooms have a tea and coffee making facilities,TV, hairdryer and radio. WiFi is available but limited.


This is an easy day, mostly along the good tracks of the military road. From Tyndrum we head up over the top of the pass to face the magnificent Beinn Dorain, an imposing hill rising almost 3,000 feet from the valley floor in a single steep and craggy slope. We descend to the wide flat valley floor where we are likely to meet the Highland cattle of the Auch Estate and enjoy easy walking to Bridge of Orchy. We see the last of the railway line to Fort William here as it departs north-eastwards across lonely and uninhabited stretches of Rannoch Moor. A short ascent through forestry takes us out into the open for superb views of the mountains of The Black Mount to the north before we drop down to Inveroran.

9 miles (14.5km) with 1,000 feet (300m) of ascent. 

Alltshellach

Situated in a stunning location on the shores of Loch Leven, Alltshellach is a stately Scottish house set amid a rugged landscape. The house is a picture of Highland solidity, with spectacular views of craggy mountains and grassy slopes beyond the loch. This pocket of domesticity lets you admire nature at your leisure though, sipping tea or G&T as you watch clouds scud across the sky. In fact, this one-time home of the Bishop of Argyll & the Isles has been recast as a hiker’s hotel, with an air of old-world splendour, excellent accommodation, a generous indoor pool, three lounges and a supremely cosy Highland Bar that’s well-stocked with local beer and whiskey, all of which is (almost) enough to distract you from the vast vistas over the waters. But it’s the great outdoors you’re here for and the house is ideally situated for accessing the Mamores, the mountains of Glen Coe and tackling Ben Nevis as well as bagging munros and spotting local wildlife.


We encounter the longest and most exposed stretch of the whole Way, reaching an altitude of almost 1,500 feet amongst the open country of Rannoch Moor. Bad weather can be experienced, with no shelter for more than six miles. We walk over a landscape of wild, open moorland, scenery of heather, rocks and lochans, always with the chance to spot an eagle. In good weather it can be a beautiful, if lonely, place with clear views for miles around and encircled by mountains. Eventually we drop down to The Kingshouse Hotel, newly built on the site of what is believed to be one of Scotland's oldest licensed inns. The original inn was built in the eighteenth century.

10 miles (16km) with 1,000 feet (300m) of ascent.

Alltshellach

Situated in a stunning location on the shores of Loch Leven, Alltshellach is a stately Scottish house set amid a rugged landscape. The house is a picture of Highland solidity, with spectacular views of craggy mountains and grassy slopes beyond the loch. This pocket of domesticity lets you admire nature at your leisure though, sipping tea or G&T as you watch clouds scud across the sky. In fact, this one-time home of the Bishop of Argyll & the Isles has been recast as a hiker’s hotel, with an air of old-world splendour, excellent accommodation, a generous indoor pool, three lounges and a supremely cosy Highland Bar that’s well-stocked with local beer and whiskey, all of which is (almost) enough to distract you from the vast vistas over the waters. But it’s the great outdoors you’re here for and the house is ideally situated for accessing the Mamores, the mountains of Glen Coe and tackling Ben Nevis as well as bagging munros and spotting local wildlife.


We are now in the upper end of Glencoe, which is guarded by the imposing rocky mountain of Buachaille Etive Mor (the Great Herdsman of Etive). This is magnificent scenery, which we can take time to admire as we climb the "Devil's Staircase"; a zig-zag track winding its way upwards. From the high point of 1,850 feet at the Staircase summit, also the highest point of the West Highland Way. The way from the top of “Devil’s Staircase” to Kinlochleven holds a sting in the tail; it is a hard road which seems to double back away from Kinlochleven. We descend to Kinlochleven, the former site of Britain's second aluminium smelting plant. The complex was built between 1904 and 1909, although the first aluminium was produced in 1908, in a small temporary factory. On the way we pass close by the water conduit and pipelines bringing water down from Blackwater Reservoir to power the former plant by hydro-electricity. 9 miles (14.5km) with 1,200 feet (360m) of ascent.

Alltshellach

Situated in a stunning location on the shores of Loch Leven, Alltshellach is a stately Scottish house set amid a rugged landscape. The house is a picture of Highland solidity, with spectacular views of craggy mountains and grassy slopes beyond the loch. This pocket of domesticity lets you admire nature at your leisure though, sipping tea or G&T as you watch clouds scud across the sky. In fact, this one-time home of the Bishop of Argyll & the Isles has been recast as a hiker’s hotel, with an air of old-world splendour, excellent accommodation, a generous indoor pool, three lounges and a supremely cosy Highland Bar that’s well-stocked with local beer and whiskey, all of which is (almost) enough to distract you from the vast vistas over the waters. But it’s the great outdoors you’re here for and the house is ideally situated for accessing the Mamores, the mountains of Glen Coe and tackling Ben Nevis as well as bagging munros and spotting local wildlife.


A steep but short climb out of Kinlochleven takes us on to easy walking through Lairigmor. There are magnificent mountains on both sides before a final ascent through forestry, cuts across the hillsides bringing us out above Glen Nevis, with spectacular Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain at 4,414 feet, immediately opposite.  We then continue down the glen to the end of the walk in Fort William

16 miles (25.5 km) with 1,600 feet (480m) of ascent.

Alltshellach

Situated in a stunning location on the shores of Loch Leven, Alltshellach is a stately Scottish house set amid a rugged landscape. The house is a picture of Highland solidity, with spectacular views of craggy mountains and grassy slopes beyond the loch. This pocket of domesticity lets you admire nature at your leisure though, sipping tea or G&T as you watch clouds scud across the sky. In fact, this one-time home of the Bishop of Argyll & the Isles has been recast as a hiker’s hotel, with an air of old-world splendour, excellent accommodation, a generous indoor pool, three lounges and a supremely cosy Highland Bar that’s well-stocked with local beer and whiskey, all of which is (almost) enough to distract you from the vast vistas over the waters. But it’s the great outdoors you’re here for and the house is ideally situated for accessing the Mamores, the mountains of Glen Coe and tackling Ben Nevis as well as bagging munros and spotting local wildlife.



What to Bring

Essential Equipment

To enjoy walking/hiking comfortably and safely, footwear, clothing and equipment needs to be suitable for the conditions. Safety and comfort are our priorities, so our advice is to come prepared for all eventualities.

  • Footwear with a good grip on the sole (e.g.Vibram sole) is the key to avoiding accidents.
  • Walking/hiking boots providing ankle support and good grip are recommended (ideally worn in), and specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed, are better than a single layer (include spares).
  • Fabrics (lightweight and fast drying) designed for the outdoors are recommended.
  • Waterproof jacket and waterproof over trousers
  • Warm hat and gloves. Gaiters are an optional but useful extra.
  • Denim jeans and capes are not suitable on any walks.
  • Rucksack with a waterproof liner,
  • Thermos flask for hot drink,
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre)
  • Spare high-energy food such as a chocolate bar.
  • Small torch
  • First aid kit – your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication or blister kits (such as Compeed)

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles are useful, particularly for descents
  • Insect repellent and a midge hood is highly recommended for Scotland
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream
  • Camera

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change.
Non-member associate fee: £10 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start/ End) Version Price Status Trip Notes Book
2020
11 May / 20 May 2019 Itinerary £1,349 £1,324 Save £25 Per Person Book Now
13 Jul / 22 Jul 2019 Itinerary £1,349 £1,324 Save £25 Per Person Book Now
10 Aug / 19 Aug 2019 Itinerary £1,339 £1,314 Save £25 Per Person Book Now
31 Aug / 09 Sep 2019 Itinerary £1,349 £1,324 Save £25 Per Person Book Now
28 Sep / 07 Oct 2019 Itinerary £1,349 £1,324 Save £25 Per Person Book Now
Duration:
9 nights
Type:
Trails
Walking Grade:
4

9 nights from £1,339pp £1,314pp

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